Monday, December 17, 2007

Thoughts about the future, Order of the Phoenix video game, and other stuff

I was thinking about my future again today, cause my mom told me some people my brother knows invited him to move in with them. This would make him the first of us to move out, which I must admit makes me a little jealous. But then he's the one with all the friends. Anyway he is still deciding.

But in the process of this Mum and I ended up talking about me, and how I feel behind of my friends (yes, I do have some, though not many, and very few close friends) because I don't have a car and I live at home, whereas most of my friends have cars and live by themselves (well, ok, mainly with roommates, since it's pretty much impossible in SoCal for someone my age to afford to live alone in an average apartment, housing prices being what they are). She said eventually, let's just get through Christmas, get the bed from Grandad's in my room and all that, and then we'll see how things go.

Speaking of the future, I still have to send the stuff for my insurance. I am still a bit apprehensive about the insurance, because there are some days I really dislike my job and want to quit. But the insurance holds me back -- I have to have medical insurance, and what if I can't get it again? And even if I do get it, what if 3 months after I get it, I find a better job and quit my current job? Then I'll lose that insurance, and the work of getting it would've been worthless. I'll be back where I started, with no health insurance (I'm too old to be under my dad's plan). I suppose I am just "catastrophizing," as Mum said the other day -- just thinking of the worst-case scenario.

Adulthood is bloody scary. I mean, here I am 23, setting up my own health insurance for the first time and terrified of doing it wrong. Meanwhile, I am only semi-independent as an adult; I live at home still (though I pay for rent every month and pay my monthly cell phone bill, and I buy most of my own food, including my own soda) and last I checked, Mum is still doing my taxes for me, using TurboTax or whatever. I suppose that is ok, but I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't try to do my own taxes this upcoming year, especially since I've got to do my FAFSA too and I might need tax information for that.

Now, granted, I said semi-independent. Like I said, I pay rent each month ($50) and my cell phone bill ($40) and buy most of my own food. I am currently paying for school now by myself and buying my textbooks myself. I do my own laundry and know how to wash dishes. I can more or less prepare a meal for myself, although I tend to eat things that can either be microwaved or easy things like toast or cereal since I'm not much good with the stove still. I can make pasta on the stovetop (boil water in a pot, put the pasta in, and so on) but that's about it (I'm still not good at scrambled eggs, and most of the time I don't have the time in the morning to make that kind of thing for breakfast). And I pretty much never use the oven since I don't usually ever eat anything that requires using the oven.

Also, the future of my schooling...I still haven't heard from Cal State. They're supposed to send me a Campus ID and password so I can check my application status. I wonder if their semester ended too and so things got messed up in the office? Eh well I'll call tomorrow to see.

As for paying for school, like I said I have to do my FAFSA. I am going to do it online because when you do that you get your Student Aid Report within 72 hours, as opposed to a couple weeks if the form's sent by snail mail. Mum said that if it turns out all I can get is loans, that we'll do so and they'll co-sign, and then we'll pay them off with the money we get from selling Gran and Grandad's house, since my parents are intending to use that money for both of our educations (mine and my brother's). I was pleasantly surprised to learn this, since I just did research on loans too (for my scholarship project). The reason it even came up was that my mom said they would use that money to provide for a junior and senior year's education for us both at college, and I said my junior year could be coming up pretty soon (if I get into Cal State for next fall and the right credits transfer over, I should be able to transfer as a junior -- that's how it usually works when you transfer from a junior college to a state university).

Eh well...change of subject. Last Friday, after I missed the FAST bus at 5:30 when I was coming home from work, I went over to EB Games and ended up buying Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for DS. I didn't get around to playing it till today, and not that seriously until I got home because I had left my styluses at home, and a stylus is essential for that game (it's your wand, among other things). And it is really fun. The visuals are way better than my other Harry Potter handheld game, the rather lame Chamber of Secrets GBA game (though not perhaps as nice as the only console Harry Potter game I own, Goblet of Fire for GameCube), and you get to run around the entire castle. That's cool.

You use your stylus in a wide variety of ways. Besides its main function as your wand, which you use on the main map to do everything from repairing Grimmauld Place vases and furniture to a Hogwarts suit of armor and some fixtures in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom (and then some) with Reparo to moving chairs out of the way with Wingardium Leviosa, it has other uses as well, such as stirring your potion in Potions or flicking your Gobstone from the bottom screen to the top screen while playing Gobstones.

They utilize other features of the DS as well, besides the stylus. Its two-screen format is used creatively in Gobstones, where the circles you want to aim for are on the top screen, but your Gobstones are on the bottom screen, and you have to use your stylus to get them from one screen to the other. Also, you duel in this game, using a number of different spells (including the staple Harry Potter video game starting spell, Filipendo), and when you duel, you not only use both screens but you turn your DS sideways so it's horizontal like a book. And the really cool thing -- during Potions lessons you can blow into the microphone to make the flames hotter. Cool, huh?

One ironic thing about the beginning of the game is that, despite the fact that the beginning of Order of the Phoenix is about Harry being on trial for use of underage magic outside of school, the game still has you going around Grimmauld Place Reparo-ing vases and furniture and using Wingardium Leviosa to move a table blocking the door to Ginny's room. Um, I thought Harry wasn't supposed to using any spells outside of school...

The storyline more or less follows the book and the movie (I suppose EA has rights to the book too) but with some original content too. Also the plot is mainly task-oriented (much like shooters such as the Bond games, Halo, or the Star Wars shooters, where you focus on completing objectives), but open to change at any moment. For instance, while trying to find the library for a task, I ended up stopping to help Moaning Myrtle fix stuff in her bathroom. And on the way to find Neville to ask about the Room of Requirement, the trio is stopped by Snape, who accuses them of vandalizing a suit of armor. They need a couple missing pieces, and the nearby portrait will give you a clue as to their possible location if you pass an Astronomy activity. After the pieces are collected, you simply Reparo and Snape comes back and lets you pass.

Anyway it looks great so far.

Well it's late and I'm tired. I fortunately have tomorrow off so I can sleep in. What I'm gonna do tomorrow I'm not sure.

Good night.

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